YANGON, 7 February 2020: Myanmar’s Ministry of Hotels and Tourism has suspended a popular visa-on-arrival service for Chinese tourists and told outbound tour operators to end ground handling services for Chinese tourists to stop the spread of the coronavirus.
According to the Irrawaddy news channel the ministry cancelled visas-on-arrival for Chinese visitors last weekend and ordered tour operators to suspend services for Chinese tourists on Monday.
However, all flights from China stopped earlier last week making the suspension a technicality.
Tourist arrivals from China were on the rise in 2019 following the introduction of a visa-on-arrival concession made available to Chinese tourists.
Myanmar received more than 300,000 Chinese tourists in 2018 and more than 750,000 in 2019, according to the Ministry of Hotels and Tourism.
Yangon International Airport reported that all flights from China have stopped. Around 12 airlines served cities in Myanmar before the crisis. China Eastern Airlines flew direct from Wuhan to Yangon and Mandalay. Other services to Myanmar included China Southern Airlines, Kunming Airlines, Air China, Myanma Airways International and Myanmar National Airlines.